Yoga And Ayurveda For Winter
Winters are a time to enjoy with your loved ones. However, it’s also a time when lethargy sets in making it difficult for most of us to even get out of bed during peak winters. Winters are synonymous with shorter days and longer nights which only feed upon the winter lethargy. However, Yoga And Ayurveda, the ancient Indian sciences that originated several thousand years ago have profound wisdom that helps to combat winter lethargy through profound knowledge of our body and mind.
This blog will explain how Yoga And Ayurveda help combat winter lethargy and keep us healthy during the long winter season.
Human Constitution as per Ayurveda
As per Ayurveda, our body is categorized into Vata (ether and air), Pitta (water and fire) and Kapha (water and earth). These are also referred to as Doshas aka bio energies or the humors. It’s these humors that influence your mental, emotional and physiological constitution and health.
During winters, its observed that your vitality gets affected. Kapha dosha becomes predominant and your digestive fire or Agni aggravates.
As per Ayurveda, the winter season can be divided into Hemant or early winter and Shishir or late winter. It’s during the winters that the Kapha and the Vata doshas get aggravated leading to lethargy, weight gain, malaises related to the mucous, joint pain and skin problems.
Ayurvedic interventions along with yoga (Yoga And Ayurveda) work towards balancing the Kapha and Vata dosha and reinstating harmony in your being.
Following an Ayurvedic Diet in Winter (Yoga And Ayurveda)
In winter, we need to keep our bodies warm. Following an Ayurvedic diet during winters such as including easily digestible foods such as barley, cereals, millet and rice along with including pulses like black gram and other lentils is beneficial. Also, adding herbs and roots like basil, and ginger as well as vitamin C-loaded Indian gooseberry should be practiced. Furthermore, spices like asafoetida, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, garlic and other spices should be added to the diet.
Seeds like flax seeds and sesame seeds are ideal to be consumed during winter. These are actually good sources of calcium. Milk, jaggery and sugarcane are yet other good food sources during winter.
Indulge in Warm Oil Massages
Warm oil massages and baths are the quintessential Ayurvedic therapies that are especially useful during the winter. These warm oil massages using sesame oil not only work to hydrate the skin but also improve circulation. As per Ayurvedic wisdom, these warm oil massages eliminate fat from the body, fire up your digestion and reduce lethargy which is common during the winter season.
Ayurvedic Techniques that improve Health During Winters
This procedure involves the use of medicated oil that is put in the nostrils so as to remove all the accumulated toxins and Kapha or mucous all across the neck and head region. Also, this procedure helps to hydrate and moisturize the nasal passage. Nasyam is beneficial to cure problems like Sinusitis, Bronchitis, nasal congestion as well various allergies common during the winter. Moreover, Nasyam therapy cures the imbalances of the Vata dosha.
Pathra Pinda Sweda
This therapy involves the use of medicinal herbs and plants that are wrapped in a cloth and applied to any body part that requires to be perspired by the application of heat. This provides relief from joint stiffness, aches and pains and increases mobility as well as the range of motion of stiff joints.
The Udwarthanam is a powder massage that acts on the deep tissues of the body. This herbal massage is done by rubbing oil on the affected parts of the body. This procedure helps generate heat while enabling the melting away of excess body fat and ushering in weight loss. Furthermore, the Udwarthanam powder massage removes toxins and exfoliates dead skin cells while making the skin glowing and healthy. Also, one experiences reduced burning and itching feelings. Since the procedure helps in the elimination of subcutaneous fat, it also aids in toxin removal therein entailing an ideal detox method for the body during winter.
There are many yoga teacher training courses like the 300 Hours Yoga Teacher Training Goa program as part of yoga teacher training in Goa where you can learn and practice these Ayurvedic techniques and treatments.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Soaking in the early morning sunlight to get adequate amounts of vitamin D can help maintain the balance of the circadian cycle as well as keep mental health conditions such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression at bay.
Also, one should consume Chyavanprash, a herb-infused Ayurvedic tonic having a sticky, semi-solid consistency. This herbal tonic when taken regularly builds up immunity and combats infections of the common cold and flu, dominant during the winters.
Yoga During Winters
We all experience feelings of dullness during the winter. In all likelihood, our bodies become stiff and lethargic. Yoga is by far the most ideal way to reduce stiffness, increase flexibility as well as improve circulation throughout the body. Here, we will mention a few yoga asanas that are especially useful during the winter.
Shalabhasana or the Locust pose
This pose helps to make you agile while enhancing your body’s flexibility. Also, your shoulders, arms and your back are strengthened. Furthermore, Shalabhasana tones and massages the abdominal organs while improving digestion.
Setu-Bandhasana or the Bridge pose
This pose enables unblocking the energy flow along the length of the spine. Also, your back muscles are strengthened while relieving any aches or back pain. Moreover, the Bridge pose stretches the neck, chest and spine while calming the brain and reducing stress and anxiety.
Besides these, other yoga poses like Virabhadrasana or Warrior pose, Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank pose, Suyanamaskars or sun salutations, Matyasana or Fish pose, Dhanurasana or Bow pose are all helpful during winter.
Pranayam or breathwork techniques help to heal and boost the energy of the body by increasing the Prana or vital energy force in the body. We have enlisted a few pranayama techniques that help warm up the body and are especially useful during winter.
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Ujjayi Breath
- Kapalbhati pranayam
- Simha pranayama or Lion’s breath
Yoga And Ayurveda are complementary sciences that offer profound knowledge and ancient wisdom to keep our bodies and minds healthy. These sciences are so prolific and versatile that they can be easily adapted and tailored to meet our physiological, mental and emotional needs during the cold winter season.